The Cornerstone – March 2019


Click on an article link below or scroll down to begin reading.

ICYMI – Highlights from February Issue

Summer Courses Open for Registration

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GPAEA is excited to announce that summer courses are open for registration! Check out our list of summer courses being offered for renewal credit! Keep checking our catalog for more additions:

Recommended for Substitute Teachers, Para Renewal as well as Educators

Recommended for Educators and Administrators

Paraeducator Courses Available in Fairfield, Ottumwa & Burlington

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Paraeducator Courses released for March – April 2019 as listed below. Click on the title of a course to register:


Professional Learning & Student Expo – April 10

You are invited to join students, educators, and business professionals on Wednesday, April 10, in Ottumwa to learn about how local districts and business are partnering to provide real-life learning experiences for area students!

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Download PDF: IowaALNRegionalProfLearnandExpo (1)

Diane John selected to receive 2019 Innovative Creator Award from Iowa’s AEAs

Congratulations to Diane John on being selected to receive the 2019 Innovative Creator Award from Iowa’s Area Education Agencies. This award celebrates amazingly innovative, creative thinking and actions. She received multiple nominations from co-workers, colleagues, and friends.

Working as a speech-language pathologist for Great Prairie AEA, Diane expressed that she is humbled to receive the award and referenced the hard work and team effort of all the teachers that she works with and her colleagues. Alicia Sherwood, an instructional coach at West Burlington Independent School District, said that Diane “brings a lot of knowledge” to the team. She is truly committed to a “kids first” mission.

Ms. John will be honored at an awards ceremony in Johnston on March 28 and a news release from Iowa’s AEAs will follow.

27 GPAEA Schools Honored for Creating Safe, Positive Environments

PBIS-webimage-400x260Released on March 7, 2019 – The Iowa Department of Education has awarded schools statewide for their work on implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is a multi-tiered system of support for behavior and provides the framework for teachers to provide and monitor prevention and intervention practices.

The schools’ work in PBIS focuses on conditions to support learning by providing positive, predictable and safe environments. If done effectively, PBIS has been shown to reduce major disciplinary infractions, reduce out-of-school suspension, improve prosocial behavior, improve academic achievement and improve school climate.

Listed below are the 27 schools within GPAEA who have been awarded and honored – congratulations!


To earn Banner Plus, teams have met fidelity for Tier 2, are providing more than one Tier 2 intervention to meet students’ needs; and through progress monitoring, are able to show that 70 percent of students are responding positively to Tier 2 supports. Banner Plus schools are beginning to develop Tier 3 systems.

  • Cardinal Elementary, Cardinal Elementary, Great Prairie
  • Hawthorne Elementary, Keokuk CSD, Great Prairie
  • Oskaloosa Middle School, Oskaloosa CSD, Great Prairie
  • Horace Mann Elementary, Ottumwa CSD, Great Prairie
  • Evans Middle School, Ottumwa CSD, Great Prairie
  • Wapello Elementary, Wapello CSD, Great Prairie


Banner schools are sustaining universal systems and practices. Students are accessing interventions such as Check in/Check out and 50 percent are responding positively to the support. The Tier 2 team engages families and staff; and uses a daily progress report to progress monitor student response to additional supports.

  • Grant Center Elementary, Albia CSD, Great Prairie
  • Columbus Elementary, Chariton CSD, Great Prairie
  • Keokuk Middle School, Keokuk CSD, Great Prairie
  • Harlan Elementary, Mount Pleasant CSD, Great Prairie
  • Wilson Elementary, Ottumwa CSD, Great Prairie
  • Eisenhower Elementary, Ottumwa CSD, Great Prairie

Honor Plus

Honor Plus is awarded to schools that are implementing universal features with fidelity. Additionally, classroom systems and family/community involvement are included in their plan. These schools are developing Tier 2 systems and have defined a decision rule to identify students who may benefit from additional supports.

  • Lincoln Center Elementary, Albia CSD, Great Prairie
  • Central Lee Middle School, Central Lee CSD, Great Prairie
  • Central Lee High School, Central Lee CSD, Great Prairie
  • Washington Elementary, Fairfield CSD, Great Prairie
  • George Washington Elementary, Keokuk CSD, Great Prairie
  • Van Allen Elementary, Mount Pleasant CSD, Great Prairie
  • Mount Pleasant Middle School, Mount Pleasant CSD, Great Prairie


Schools that earn the Honor level award have rolled out their PBIS plan to students, staff and families. They have identified and taught behavioral expectations and implemented systems to develop a consistent response to appropriate and problem behaviors. The building team meets regularly and is using data to inform decisions.

  • Central Ward Elementary, Centerville CSD, Great Prairie
  • Central Lee Elementary, Central Lee CSD, Great Prairie
  • Mount Pleasant High School, Mount Pleasant CSD, Great Prairie
  • Lincoln Elementary, Mount Pleasant CSD, Great Prairie
  • James Elementary, Ottumwa CSD, Great Prairie
  • Van Buren Middle School, Van Buren CSD, Great Prairie


These schools completed training during the 2017-18 school year and developed all of the products needed to begin implementation. They were ready to roll out their PBIS plan in the fall of 2018. The following schools met criteria for the Emerging level:

  • Harmony Elementary, Harmony CSD, Great Prairie
  • Winfield Mount Union Elementary, Winfield Mount Union CSD, Great Prairie

See the full press release and list of honored schools at

GPAEA Van Delivery Updates – March-May 2019


Great Prairie AEA provides van delivery service to each school in the Agency’s service area. Please note there will be no van delivery on the following dates:

  • March 18-21
  • April 22

Van Delivery EXTENDED

Since many school districts have had to extend the school year due to closures for inclement weather, GPAEA will be extending our van delivery schedule one week. The new schedule is as follows:

  • Last Delivery Date will be the week of May 20-23, 2019
  • Last Pickup Date will be the week of May 28-31 (Since May 27th is a holiday, all routes will be delayed one day that week. Monday routes will run on Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, etc.)
  • Districts in session after May 31st will be contacted individually to arrange final pickup.

Celebrate National School Social Work Week – March 3 – 9

School social workers confront some of the most challenging issues facing students and their families. National School Social Work Week is always celebrated the first full week in March, and we wish to acknowledge and thank our team of dedicated school social workers!

Great Prairie AEA School Social Workers: Shelli Blazic; Nancy Cristoforo; Shannon Dameron; Lacey Dickey; Tana Fourdyce; Nancy Gutman; Katherine Horn; Amanda Larkin; Lindsey Long; Heather Main; Jodi Marlette; Carie Masters; Heather McAtee; Amy Molyneux; Kim Richert; Kibben Rumohr; Lynn Sheagren, Samantha Smith; Abby Spence; Brenda Starr; Cindy Starr; Brianne Stuchel; Joan Summer; Kathy Utterback; Katie Vansickel; Ashley White; and Kacie Wood

Thank you for all that you do for GPAEA and area students and families!